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tv   Book Discussion on The Hollywood Sign  CSPAN  June 22, 2015 1:30am-1:46am EDT

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but i would just think i have to take the picture still make it challenging vaster type that kids want to be cared for there are not finding that in their community they don't blame their parents but the adults are the authority with the educational system so they blame the institutions and most of them said many who work all day or all-night and he said no because my parents are always working.
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i have to clean the house all the time. they thought they had then nastier dash claim they just have to work too much it is interesting how they see a. most had one car or did not have a car so if they had two cars there with say wow your parents have to cars to reducing you are? it that you were trying to be more than you were so was not parents but those surrounding them sweat think that was a lot of their complaints professor elaine bell kaplan "we live in the
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shadow" inner-city kids tell their stories through photographs" here is the cover. booktv c-span2. >> is "the hollywood sign" an american icon? >> very much so it is. there are so many icons it is an overused word but if anything in america has of claimed it is the hollywood sign purposes it is such a strange type of icon because it represents it is just a group of letters that refers to hollywood but hollywood itself is a strange word
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that means that old movie business and stars and everything you wanted to be sitting on the hill people come to los angeles and want to be photographed near it. >> host: how does that compare to the american end i comic when dash iconic image like the statue of liberty? >> those have a specific look the statue of liberty is obviously a statue of a woman holding a torch even the washington monument have a specific place to sit there but with the hollywood sign that is different is it is much easier to project your own feelings because it is just a word so whenever you think that means hollywood you can put onto that the statue of liberty liberty, washington monument or the eiffel tower are
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icons that have very specific meanings. hollywood is amorphous. >> host: where did it come from? >> was an advertisement for real-estate development in beechwood canyon in 1923 and originally said hollywood land which was the name of the development it was a retreat development it talks about getting away from the city and by implication that people who live there to go up to the beautiful hillside to smell the sweet air that you move it to your children to move to hollywood land it was dealt with big letters it is part of the early car culture it was supposed to be seen from wilshire boulevard that was the rule
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of thumb by driving around in a car in this was the 1920's were middle-class people were buying cars mostly were for the rich the model t, etc. and people would come one of the entertainment was drive around to real-estate development in hollywood land was one of them. >> host: how did ago from hollywood land to hollywood? >> it was supposed to be a temporary sign. it was built on telephone poles to anchor it then it was she metal. like a billboard essentially. over the years it started to deteriorate some of those letters were ripped, windstorms or
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anything that would come through to wreck the letters i think the late 30's there was no more maintenance the used to be a man who lived nearby because originally it had 40,000 light bulbs and it would link in unison but first it would go in order. to follow a sequence and when the bulls would go out there were replaced but the main it stopped in the 30's then in 1949 with the engineers of the city of lhasa angeles said it was a public nuisance to tear it down the hollywood chamber of commerce said it would take over the maintenance and that is when deland barr was dropped so 1949 is really when it was born again.
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>> host: but when did it start to take on that iconic status people knowing that they lived near the site and? director was very slow building. one of the most important and reassessments -- advancements is the suicide of a young actress from the sign that is a mysterious situation. she lived with her uncle and was supposed to meet friends in a coffee shop that her body was discovered 100 yards below the size depending on the story she either did it because she was disappointed starlit or a love affair or combination but the story that has gathered strength they are
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like snowballs to gather bits of information that basically she is a victim of hollywood she lost her job, but look into the records it is more ambiguous but she seemed to be doing fairly well. >> host: who owns it? >> a hollywood community is part of it the chamber of commerce for part of ted, los angeles parks and recreation. is divided up with the site itself is maintained by the committee that is connected to the chamber of commerce and the signing but all of the security is run by the police department and parks in iraq.
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>> host: publicly and? >> all that land is public. a couple years ago there was a big brouhaha because right behind the hollywood sign was land owned by the howard hughes a state he originally built as a getaway love nest for ginger rogers but then she dumped him so he would build a house the estate wanted to get rid of small parcels it was not sold to the city of los angeles for the development offer from chicago who then decided they would build luxury housing behind the hollywood sign so it was of trust for publicly and in this city got together to buy back from them and managed to do
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that so it is now all publicly and. >> host: can people visit it? >> and measured quantities. the problematic thing is that it was put on google maps so people knew how to get there up to this point it was much more difficult it is a labyrinth of streets and it drove the residence crazy they are very narrow streets with problems with cars clogging the streets what if there was a fire what about the fire engines? so with various proposals including a shuttle bus people are encouraged to go to other places like the observatory with more parking that is more observe -- accessible and see the side from there.
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>> host: when did it become part of the movie industry? >> that is an interesting question because in a way the whole idea to renovate the sign after the letters were shredded it hardly looked like hollywood any more. in the '70s there is some patching through the '60s but it was inadequate but there was a more concerted push to save this kind of intel finally be though late '70s finally the most effective effort to renovate the hollywood sign and the intriguing part is there were very few hollywood people involved. but there was spearheaded by
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two people of prominence. one was hugh hefner the other was alice cooper. both of them had only recently the playboy mansion only recently moved to los angeles so there were people from the outside that had their own view and reason to be connected with this renovation project. so if you would donated 27,000 to the fund you could buy a letter. most of those letters were bought by business people the only people that had a hollywood connection one was geometry who by this time was more of an entrepreneur were and owner of sports teams the other was andy williams but as far as movie stars or producers or studio, but nobody.
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>> design we see today is what was developed in the '70s? >> is made out of stronger material, a steel actually you can still see the telephone poll stubs in the ground but now it is real anchors the paint is date:it is more done in a permanent way. >> host: what did it take for you to get there how many people did you have to contact? >> had to work with people through the chamber of commerce and the committee because it's the was working on the book there were hopeful and gave me help and talk to me about the history and the things that went on with a sigh and. one of the reasons of the
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suicide story she clearly died is questioned because it is so steep and reported it to get to i clambered to do the side if i had trouble to get back up their. it is porous soil you are slipping is an engineering feat to make it so permanent >> host: what does that mean to you? you are a professor raised in philadelphia. >> i realize of course, of developing and writing the book with research that it is something that i like the fact people have difficulty to get to it. and everybody wants the
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instant satisfaction to get a movie star photograph for to be photographed next to the assigned but i think that represents about america and ideals of recognition it is on a hillside in the middle of beecher very steep that is hard to get to use yet hover above the city when there are clouds it is almost like oz a place you strive for but never get to purport also embodies things about america itself like the history of idealism. >> host: what you teach at the university of southern california? to rec american culture after world war ii that fits into the 50s and 60s the also 17th and 18th century british literature and a variety of

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